51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2010
If you didn't like the first Paranormal Activity I strongly doubt you will enjoy Paranormal Activity 2 so don't even bother, stay far away from it. I was one of those who liked Paranormal Activity and thought it was entertaining and somewhat different from other horror movies as well. The concept of all these paranormal events going on and purposely cheaply-made film was intriguing and best of all, it worked. The thing is there were parts were I was genuinely scared, I couldn't help but be a little freaked out by what the characters were going through. This second PA movie is actually the prequel to the first one and not a traditional sequel like you would imagine, it has elements of both a prequel and a sequel (that's the best way of putting it). It can be a little difficult to imagine a second film that wouldn't ruin what the first one did, be different and still have the effect the first had. I was curious enough and found this one just as enjoyable as the first one. Paranormal Activity 2 doesn't really cover new ground but with careful improvements and changes, works just as well if not better than the original. I respect that they obviously didn't want to ruin what the first movie did which tends to be hard for a sequel, they clearly cared enough and wanted to show viewers something worthy (and I'll say it was).
Paranormal Activity 2 begins two months before the first film and what happens in this prequel leads to the first. This time around the story is focused on Dan, his wife Kristi, Dan's daughter Ali and son Hunter who are-you guessed it-victim of paranormal activity. It's becoming clear to viewers that something is after baby Hunter and will go through anything to get him, even family members. Dan is a skeptic and refuses to talk about these events until it comes to a point he can no longer ignore. His daughter Ali believes and researches the events happening to the family. This leads to a situation. Now, the story is nothing new but it soon all falls into pieces. If you believe or not in these things is not the point, you are likely to be captivated, guessing and wondering what's coming next. What's interesting is that you see Katie and Micah from the first PA and you even see them at their house and Micah with his Camera. I felt this one explained more of what happened in PA which only helps of course. For me, when watching the first film it took some time to really get into it but once you're in, it's quite a ride. PA 2 is no different but there are some elements that made it even more enjoyable for me. It starts out nice and easy, then gradually things begin to happen and it gets progressively worse, it's a formula that worked well for the first and it also applies here. In this one the acting is much better, there are cameras all over the house and the story behind it all was really interesting. The family dog, a German shepherd named Abby who also feels a presence in the house; animals usually feel those types of things before humans do and only contributes to make things more interesting. In the first PA, it seemed things only happened when the characters were asleep, which made sense. This time around things happen both during night and day which adds another dimension to PA.
I was definitely freaked out after viewing, I kept thinking about what I've just seen on the screen. Paranormal Activity is deeply psychological that's why it's so interesting to some and won't appeal to others. It certainly makes one think about the paranormal and raise questions, but that's probably what the filmmakers want you to do. If you liked the first one chances are you will also like this one, I probably enjoyed this prequel/sequel more than the first. I feared this one might be bad but I must say that the experience is just as valid as in the first movie. Some things about PA 2 are very similar to the first, yet it's also different in its own way, after all no one experiences things in the same way. Just to make things clear, it's not "the scariest film ever!" or "the worst movie ever made" as some reviewers said. You may have seen the first movie but are you sure you're ready this time around? 4/5.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Allow me to start by saying I'm in the camp of people who loved the first Paranormal Activity. If, however, you *didn't* enjoy the first one, then this one will be an absolute snooze-fest for you, so look elsewhere.
For those of you who don't know, this is a prequel to the first movie -- but only by a margin of weeks, which I think is pretty cool. Katie and Micah are both in this movie -- Katie, much more so -- but neither one gets much screen time (maybe 10-15 minutes total). The format of the movie holds true to the approach in the first: You get a sense of the family and who they are when unaffected by demonic possession, then things happen over the course of the rest of the movie which end in a dramatic cliffhanger of sorts. The main difference in this movie is that you don't have to wait very long to see the family deal with something strange, but they don't start putting things together until later when things happen more frequently. Likewise, instead of one camera, you see things happen via security cameras (which, as you will see in the movie, have a reason for being installed) and a hand-held camera. Lastly, there are many more nights in which the totality of events happen in this movie than in the first, but I rather enjoyed that.
Now, as for my total enjoyment of the movie... well, let's just say I was ultimately underwhelmed. I was entertained and the moments of normal family time were enjoyable to watch (in other words, the movie didn't drag out for me at all), but the scares came primarily in the form of jump-scares where things happen suddenly and loudly, thus making you jump out of your pants for that split-second. For as much as I was personally affected by the first movie after watching it, I was expecting at least some sort of rehash of that experience after seeing this second movie, but alas, I walked away unaffected from the experience.
I'm glad I watched the movie and I will certainly catch the 3rd installment this year, but I won't be seeing Paranormal Activity 2 again on my own accord -- and not because it scared me that much. In my humble opinion, I say give Oren Peli another ~$15,000 budget and have him (and *only* him) go to town once more, because he alone accomplished what he + Hollywood clearly could not with their deep pockets: A sense of realism and intrigue that grips a person and chills them to the bone with an experience that lasts far outside the boundaries of the span of time of the movie itself. Perhaps that is due to how much Peli left to the viewer's imagination in Paranormal Activity versus everything Hollywood gave visual affirmation to here in Paranormal Activity 2. With that said, I did enjoy the continuation of -- and additional historicity within -- the storyline.
Overall, if you liked the first installment, I recommend you see this installment if you have yet to. The development of the storyline and the way they end this movie all ties into the first movie and sets the stage for the third installment in a manner that I'm looking forward to seeing the continuation/conclusion of. Just don't expect to go to bed the night you watch this movie and feel like something is just waiting to pull you out of bed, drag you down the hall and make a snack out of you before possessing you -- at least, not like you felt after watching it happen in the first movie. =)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2012
DISCLAIMER: I loved, loved, loved Paranormal Activity. If you didn't, then don't watch this. This was made for people who liked the original. The people involved in making this flick saw no need to modify that which a lot of folks already liked. So here we go...
In any movie where we, the audience, will watch a group of people under emotional duress it is the screenwriter and director's job to have us identify with them somehow; humanize them. So let's meet the players. This family has QUITE a house (much like the pleasantly affluent couple in Paranormal Activity). The man of the house has not one but two--TWO--man caves!!!! The first-born daughter is a hand full. I was looking forward to the lines that would pour out of that sassy mouth. How does such a child get raised? Well, that double-man-caving husband coupled with a wife who clearly never plans on doing a diaper. And why bother? She has a Latin nanny to whom she may delegate at will. The nanny tends to the baby, their infant son, who dad thinks will favor father-son Chargers games over video games as he enters adolescence. Good luck with that bonding, dad! Relating with this American portrait yet?
This family is living the American dream. A McMansion of a house, a nanny, an adorable baby, sunny California BBQ's by the pool, and a dog that doesn't seem to bark, bite, drool or hump anything. I don't want it to end. The father even quotes Highlander while dunking his nephew in the pool. "There can be only ONE!" Perfect. A little too perfect?
BAM! The house is dilapidated! It looks like they owed a hurricane money and it took it out on their interior decorating. Without being any less intriguing for it, we find ourselves playing the exact same game as I did during the first Paranormal Activity. We listen for strange noises. We focus our eyes on random objects trying to convince ourselves whether or not they're moving ever so slightly. When the dog stirs, stares or barks, we try to see what the dog is focusing on. We get involved and otherwise meaningless security-cam footage of an uneventful house becomes a suspenseful ocular-sleuthing marathon. Kudos to the filmmakers for taking me on this journey. The movie develops from that point on and, well, you should know the kinds of things that follow.
Completely off-topic, but the Latin maid speaks very little English, however she talks quite a bit. No subtitles are offered to the audience when she speaks Spanish (to herself, in panic, in prayer, etc.). But if you understand what she's saying, the movie is actually even more interesting. Even more interesting than if they gave subtitles...because you know that you caught something that wasn't meant for everyone in the audience. As I found myself understanding it I stopped to wonder how monolingual Americans would react to these indecipherable mutterings--would the mood be different? No subtitles was a brilliant call. Also, adding not only a dog OR a baby, but both, was a great call. You'll find that you watch the baby much in the same way that you watch the dog. They're both like windchime-harbingers of strange goings-on.
I really enjoyed watching this movie. There were times when I was watching the screen SOOOO carefully with my eyes darting about at details like a devout Ghost Hunter. This movie was admittedly very similar to the prequel, but it was not a blatant repetition. This sequel, unlike the original, also had a distinct protagonist: the daughter.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2011
I really respect PA. It's so great that people now have the potential to make their own movies in the digital age. And the director, probably due to budget constraints, kept the story squarely on the couple and their little problem. The way PA 2 ties into the first film is quite clever, to have it run as a precursor and then concurrently to PA. But it just doesn't have a true feeling of suspense that the first one did. One goes from a feeling of "ooh, what's gonna happen???" to "sheesh, I hope something happens." The scares are so very s...l...o...w in coming and far too scarce. And at times, the activity is getting filmed but I can't figure out how or why. The cameras in the home were physically installed but these scenes are being filmed by someone else of two moving, mobile characters fully within the shots? Who is holding the camera? The demon? Mighty nice of it. And one other thing I have to quibble on is the Hispanic maid. She's convinced there are evil spirits in the home. This is such a stereotype that comedian George Lopez makes jokes how all Hispanics think they have at least one haunted room in their home. I can vouch that this is true because I'm married to a Hispanic and he's always thought that of each apt and home we've owned as have all his family members of their homes. Sorry if I offend anyone. My point -- it's no big deal or shocker if your Latino says there's a coo couie -yeah , laugh, I don't know the spelling or fantasma (ghost) in the home. I don't have the heart to tell him it's actually La Chupacabra.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2011
After coming home and seeing thier house vandalized the Rey family installs security cameras to catch burglars. The cameras pick up much more then that. If you have seen the first one you will know what to expect as far as the camera work and basic feel. I did not realize going in that this was a prequel, in a way. If you have seen the first one you will understand more of the aspects of the movie. It's not really an easy movie to review. The original scared the crap out of me, and I was tense all through this one too, not because it was really scary on its own, but more of a hangover from the first one. The original was a better movie overall and this one felt forced, but it is still very much worth watching if you liked the first one. It didn't scare me nearly as much as the first one, but I really liked the way they tied the two movies together. Not really sure they need a 3rd one, but they are making one anyway. I guess horror directors and studios just dont know when to stop. I give it a B-.
Would I watch it again? - I think I would, after re-watching the first one to see stuff I may have missed
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2012
Do you like watching paint dry? Do you count the Cheerios in your cereal bowl? Then you may enjoy this movie, which is one of the most boring, unscary horror movies ever made. Endless hours of watching a pool skimmer at work! Months of a video camera focused on the stairs! Years of uninteresting people chattering about nothing much!
A few mildly startling moments, but only relative to the overall utter tedium. Some nonsense background nattering added to the mix as a sort of explanation for what was happening.
Remember in the Munsters when Igor the Bat flew about squeaking? Well, that was more scary than anything in this movie.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2012
I am one on those who hate the hand held camera gimmick as much as the staged "reality" TV. The first film I literally gave away to a complete stranger. In this film we discover why the demon comes to the house-maybe. There is no shocking final scene as far as I can tell. The goofy stuff starts shortly after Hunter is born. The house is ransacked, except for his room. So the family installs cameras in all the rooms, as well as walk around with a hand held camera all the time, plus a few camera shots that didn't fill either description, such as the OUIJA board scene.
The house keeper suspects an evil spirit is in the house. The daughter thinks it is a demon from mom's side of the family that is after Hunter, and mom thinks it has something to do with the fact her and her sister Cleavage used to hold seances. Dad is a skeptic and doesn't believe much of anything and the dog just barks. This is dad's second wife who seems only slightly older than his bikini daughter.
The plot behind the movie isn't half bad but instead of having a sound track, a decent camera crew, and a token shower scene, we end up with another hand held yawner that bored me to tears as I spent half the time watching a pool crawler. OH LOOK! It got out of the pool! I suggest you read the reviews and fast forward to day 12 or so, to avoid rigor mortis.
No sex, no nudity, a few F-bombs, no terror, no horror, no blood, no gore.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2011
I had such high hopes for this sequel to one of the scariest movie experiences - Paranormal Activity.
Paranormal Activity 2 is a clever sequel. It is more along the lines of a prequel/parallel story. You are introduced to a new family about to be terrorized by a demonic force.
This family is related to Katie from the first movie in that Katie and the wife, Kristi, are sisters.
You learn more of the back-story of these sisters in that they conducted seances and dabbled in the occult when they were younger. You also learn, by way of step-daughter Ali, that their grandmother probably made some kind of deal with the demon and it is after Kristi's son, Hunter.
After the home is ransacked, they install security cameras all over the house. Every single time "something" happens you are witness to the same progression over-and-over. Outside, pool, inside kitchen, inside living room, front door, Hunter's room.
Every. Single. Time.
This is part of what makes this sequel intolerable and boring.
The beauty of the first film was that each night, you knew something was going to happen and it kept getting worse. It built a level of tension that you could cut with a butter knife. In this one, there is too much boring video of people walking around and that stupid pool cleaner.
There is only one redeemable moment in the film: when Ali is sleeping on the couch and you see a shadow creep closer to her and when it nears, she jerks awake. That was intense.
Everything else was boring. Instead of calling this DVD the uncut, director's edition, they should have called it: Paranormal Activity 2: The Extreme Bore edition.
They have left it open for another movie but I hope they leave well enough alone. Let's forget this sequel happened.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2012
Saw the first movie, which I tolerated, but this one was boring. I ended up fast forwarding much of this movie. It was a free rental for Amazon Prime and I still think I paid too much. If you really liked the first movie you will like this, if you didn't skip the rental, even if free, and go to something better.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Thanks to "Scream 2," everybody knows the rules for horror sequels - more gore, more exotic death scenes, more T&A, and a nasty tendency to explain more about the villain, thereby making the villain less scary. Based on these rules, virtually no horror sequel holds a candle to the original that sparked the franchise.
Fortunately, the team behind "Paranormal Activity 2" knows these rules well enough to avoid them. "Paranormal Activity 2" does not truly dive deeper into the story of Micah and Katie, the doomed couple from "Paranormal Activity." Instead, this sequel expands upon their story by telling a parallel tale about Katie's sister Kristi (Sprague Grayden), her husband Dan (Brian Boland), Dan's teenage daughter Ali (Molly Iphraim) and their baby son Hunter. Kristi and Katie have remained close, and this sequel takes place largely in the weeks leading up to Katie's and Micah's tale of terror.
Kristi and Dan are delighted to bring Hunter home to their SoCal not-quite-McMansion. They barbeque with Katie and Micah and shoot loving home movies in their bucolic backyard swimming pool. But soon their house is broken into, and strangely, nothing is taken. This little development is nothing more than a cute contrivance to get the same security-cam video structure that made the first movie so spooky.
[Mild Spoiler Alert] The installation of the security cams gets things rolling, as we now get to see the creepily low-budget yet realistic security footage of spectral beasties doing that voodoo that they do so well. Certain film critics may sneer at this movie as a collection of "gotcha" moments, but the movie skilfully builds tension from small moments of fright to genuine terror. We learn a bit more about Katie's history with the demon from the first movie, but not so much as to rip all the fun out of this story.
If you liked the first movie, you will definitely appreciate that this movie goes to great lengths to add to the first movie rather than merely ride its coattails.